SHORTLISTED FOR THE HILARY WESTON WRITERS' TRUST PRIZE FOR NONFICTION
Award-winning journalist Anna Mehler Paperny's stunning memoir chronicles with courageous honesty and uncommon eloquence her experience of depression and her quest to explore what we know and don't know about this disease that afflicts almost a fifth of the population--providing an invaluable guide to a system struggling to find solutions. As fascinating as it is heartrending, as outrageously funny as it is serious, it is a must-read for anyone impacted by depression--and that's pretty much everybody.
Depression is a havoc-wreaking illness that masquerades as personal failing and hijacks your life. After a major suicide attempt in her early twenties, Anna Mehler Paperny resolved to put her reporter's skills to use to get to know her enemy, setting off on a journey to understand her condition, the dizzying array of medical treatments on offer and a medical profession in search of answers. Charting the way depression wrecks so many, she maps competing schools of therapy, pharmacology, cutting-edge medicine, the pill-popping pitfalls of long-term treatment, the glaring unknowns and the institutional shortcomings that both patients and practitioners are up against. She interviews leading medical experts across Canada and the US, from psychiatrists to neurologists, brain-mapping pioneers to family practitioners, and others dabbling in strange hypotheses--and shares compassionate conversations with fellow sufferers.
Hello I Want to Die Please Fix Me tracks Anna's quest for knowledge and her desire to get well. Impeccably reported, it is a profoundly compelling story about the human spirit and the myriad ways we treat (and fail to treat) the disease that accounts for more years swallowed up by disability than any other in the world.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
This intimate study of depression isn’t just a lifeline for those struggling with the illness—everyone should read it, because we all know someone who’s been there. Anna Mehler Paperny begins with an unflinching examination of her multiple suicide attempts, chalking up her ability to survive drinking paint thinner or antifreeze to a sky-high tolerance for toxins. From there, her reporter’s instincts kick in, transforming her memoir into a razor-sharp investigation of the Byzantine psychiatric care system and its antidepression treatments. Mehler Paperny never whitewashes depression’s complexities, but somehow, through it all, she holds fast to her wry sense of humour.
Journalist Mehler Paperny offers a startling and intimate portrait of her multiple attempts at suicide and digs into the disturbingly inadequate "toolbox" available to individuals suffering from acute depression. This memoir cum cultural study segues between the author's inexplicable obsession with killing herself (raised in a supportive family, she writes, her depression isn't connected to an experiential trigger) and a review of medications and other approaches available to those struggling with depression. Mehler Paperny's intense story begins in 2011 when, at 24, she ends up in the psych ward, having been discovered in her apartment after she drank antifreeze; her subsequent suicide attempts included asphyxiation and overdosing on pills. Due to depression's human, societal, and economic costs, she writes, it "affects everyone," and yet there is no overarching magic answer to this remarkably complex "shit sandwich of an illness," and she lists options for those suffering, such as pharmaceuticals, psychotherapy, and electroconvulsive therapy. Talking openly about suicide, she asserts, is crucial; and in doing so here, she herself inspires in her determination to "punch" back at her illness. This earnest and informative volume serves as a frank guide to those dealing with depression.